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2SS                                                                                                                 B- POLEVOI
"This one's dead," he said, removing his cap. "Any-
body else in there?"
"Yes. The driver," answered the mail-truck driver.
"What are you standing there for? Come and help!"
the senior lieutenant snapped at the dismayed youth.
"Haven't you seen blood before? Get used to it, youll
see quite a lot! Here you are, this is the hunters' prey."
The driver was alive. He moaned softly but his eyes
were shut. There were no signs of injury, but evidently,
when the truck, hit by a shell, hurtled into the ditch, the
driver struck his chest violently against the wheel and
was caught in the wreckage of the cabin. The senior
lieutenant ordered him to be lifted into the mail truck.
The lieutenant had with him, carefully wrapped in a
piece of cotton cloth, a smart, brand-new greatcoat. This
he spread out for the injured man to lie on, sat down on
the floor of the truck and placed the injured man's head
upon his knee.
"Drive for all you're worth!" he ordered.
Gently supporting the injured man's head, he smiled
at some remote thought of his own.
Dusk had already fallen when the truck raced down the
street of a small village, which an experienced eye could
at once see was the command post of a small aircraft unit.
Several lines of wire ran suspended from dusty branches
of bird-cherry and gaunt apple-trees standing in front
gardens, from the sweeps of wells and from the poles of
fences. In the thatched sheds near the houses, where
peasants usually keep their carts and farm implements,
battered "Emkas" and jeeps could be seen. Here and there
through the dim panes of the small cottage windows,
soldiers wearing peaked caps with blue bands were seen
and the taping of typewriters could be heard; and from
one house, on which the network of wires conjoined, came
the even ticking of a telegraph apparatus.
This village, which stood off the main and minor roads,
looked as if it had survived in this now desolate and
weed-covered place as a relic to show how good it had
been to live in these parts before the Hitler invasion.
Even the small pond, overgrown with yellowish duck-
weed, was full of water. It was a cool, glistening patch in
the shade of old weeping willows, and forcing a way